Since the release of their album in June last year, Glass Animals have slowly but surely penetrated the alternative consciousness. Their devoted following have proven themselves up and down the country during their recent sell-out tour and Electric Circus was no exception. In less than a year, the band have gone from BBC Introducing’s secret weapon (filling their tent at Glastonbury, which was no mean feat as their set clashed with Dolly Parton) to veritable alt-pop sensations whose fans know every word.
Perhaps as a result of its intimate size, the atmosphere of Electric Circus, for lack of a better description, is electric. As the intro of “Black Mambo” rings out and the band appears on stage, the crowd’s excitement is palpable. Given that the production of their debut album, Zaba, greatly characterises their sound, with only rare seconds of silence across 45 minutes, how it will translate to a live show is something of a mystery.
The venue’s size does come with some limitations; the quartet and their instruments fill the stage and leave no room for the palm trees and the other jungle related paraphernalia that has been a focal point of the tour. Lead singer Dave Bayle makes up for their lack of props by throwing handfuls of glitter into the excited crowd; making one bald man’s head particularly sparkly.
Unfortunately, on more than one occasion throughout the set, the sound quality is poor. Some of the busier tracks see the vocals muffled, overpowered by the bassline and other hazy effects. The audience however seem to be either unperturbed or extremely forgiving, moving swiftly past the misjudged and mixed levels. Whoever is to blame for this faux-pas probably needs to be fired if the band are to become any more successful, but the quartet are clearly doing something right to get such a positive reaction regardless. Endearingly, they are still at a level of fame that allows them to be genuinely shocked when they hear their own lyrics sung back to them by a crowd; Bayley grins as he points the microphone away from him to hear “Gooey”’s surreal “peanut butter vibes” chanted emphatically.
Played live, “Gooey” seems more upbeat than the album version, inspiring the crowd to get even sweatier than they are already, suffering from the distinct lack of air conditioning in Electric Circus. Elsewhere “Hazey” is a particular highlight of the set, stripped back slightly to accommodate a live performance without losing its sultry appeal.
Clamouring cries of “one more tune” are relieved by a crowd-pleasing encore. First, a cover of Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” for which Bayle makes his way into the crowd, creating a frenzy of smartphone flashes and outstretched arms. “Pools” is their final offering, upbeat and powered by the feeling that Glass Animals really are one to watch.